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Brains Trust

The guidance you need, when you need it - absolutely FREE.

Are you stuck trying to find a solution to a problem in your business?

Are you a founder looking for advice but don’t know who to ask?

Ask our Brains Trust!

Our ‘Brains’ are experts in their field who are passionate about supporting innovators in regional and rural Australia.

This program gives you a unique opportunity to spend an hour with someone from our Brains Trust talking about your next steps in business and receiving real time feedback.

Whether you need guidance, information or just a brainstorm buddy to work through a problem, we’ve got you covered!

And your first two sessions are FREE thanks to our generous local government partners.

How does it work?

We find out what you’re getting stuck on in your business, and match you with someone from our Brains Trust with the expertise to help you.

You spend an hour together working through the obstacles you’re facing in your business and exploring practical solutions.

From marketing and IT, through to legal queries and product R&D, there’s a Brain in our network who can guide you to success.

Our Brains

Kirsten Seeto

Business Process & planning/ Business tools for efficiency/ Financial process & reporting

Kirsten has always loved the challenge of turning chaos into order and, as such, excelled as a business analyst to many blue chip organisations over the course of 15 years. She enjoyed working with business owners and tech developers to build impactful solutions.  

From the foothills of the Victorian Alps she helped build loop+, a med-tech start-up, which taught her just how much could be achieved with the right team, the right tools and the right data. Recently turning her skills to the local community, she managed a mountain bike park out of insolvency and into a sustainable community asset. 

A strong believer that the right technology can provide more time for us to work on the truly human problems, Kirsten now lives in her Tiny House in North East Victoria with her Jack Russell dog, Riley.

Birgit Schonafinger

Communications/ PR/ Theory of Change

Birgit supports businesses and organisations facing change by helping clients better understand their stakeholders and connect with their communities.

Through Fishbowl PR, she has been delivering tailored communications solutions and community engagement projects for more than 12 years.  Birgit works collaboratively with other communications, marketing and brand, videography, photography and web professionals.

She is practical, flexible and highly organised approach and is well connected through communications networks. 

Emma Avery

Marketing/ Blogging/ Comjunication & behaviour change/ Circular Economy/ Resource Efficiency

Emma Avery is a sustainability entrepreneur, with 12 over years designing and delivering behaviour change programs, toolkits and workshops related to waste avoidance initiatives primarily within local and state government organisations.

To address a waste problem, Emma founded Cloth Baby – an online retail and education platform to help parents choose and use reusable baby nappies. She now focuses and consults on waste and resource management, the circular economy and initiatives to achieve behaviour change and communication for waste minimisation and avoidance. 

Bronwen O’Shea

Storytelling/ journalism/ crafitng the written word

Bronwen O’Shea is the founder of StoryUp, a communications and storytelling business for regional Australia. StoryUp helps regional startups, small business owners, not for profits and emerging leaders talk about what they do and why it matters. Bron provides skills and support across a range of comms services including media training, business storytelling, content creation and audio storytelling/podcasting.

Before StoryUp, Bron spent fifteen years as an ABC radio presenter and producer where she brought over 17,000 stories to life.

Michael Hoare

Financial services & planning/ Lending & superannuation

With over thirty years experience in the finance industry, covering most aspects of finance from start-ups through to Private Client Offices and Commercial Enterprises, Michael has the experience and contacts that can help clients grow towards their financial goals – be that financial or creating time for themselves. 

His client for life philosophy enables him to get to know clients well, assess their needs and then source the right solutions. Michael helps clients understand the right solution for most financial needs including Secured Commercial and Business Cash flow lending and Equipment/Consumer Financing. 

Ashley Boyd

Business Development/ Finance, Capital & investing/ IT & Technology/ Operations

Ash works with businesses to build strong financial processes to ensure compliance needs are met and progress towards goals, whatever they are, is being made. Having worked with small/medium businesses at all stages of the business cycle over the last 14 years he can get to know you and your needs to ensure that are addressed. 

“I know that accounting isn’t everyone’s favorite topic.. and tax is even worse… but I love what I do and working with people to ensure that their accounting and tax needs are taken care of. “

Amelia Hartney

Product R&D / Finance/ Business Development

Amelia has a dynamic and flexible approach that pulls together groups into strong cohorts of peer support.

Her experience as a Management Consultant, working with businesses and not-for-profits on strategy and growth solutions, provides a depth of field for the program.

Her specialist knowledge areas include agriculture, manufacturing, trade, incentives and innovation.

Annette Rose

Connectivity/ digital transformation/ IT security & systems data/ Cusomer Operations

With over 25 years experience in the Financial Services Industry in companies such as Merrill Lynch UK, Prudential Banking and Barclay’s and a member of the founding leadership team of 2 financial startup’s including UBank in Australia, Annette Rose is a senior leader with significant experience in a number of disciplines, gained globally across the UK and Australia.

Having held senior leadership roles in Technology and Operations –  Annette can work with small business and startup’s to provide advice and guidance in all areas of Digital Transformation. 

Reece Miller

Product development & R&D, IT & Prototype / Code solutions – nontech founders developing apps/ Sales – outbound & B@B sales / Culture & skill build

Reece founded 2 companies starting at 21. His first was a disability and aged care business. Exiting with a management buy-out, Reece is very proud that 7 of the new owners are people with disability. He was already developing his next venture, SpendAble. SpendAble is a debit card for elderly and disabled Australians. It empowers people to access their money and reduce the risk of financial fraud and abuse.

Reece’s 0 to 1 journey is always gritty, stressful and pushes beyond the comfort zone. As a non-technical founder he’s goal and customer driven. He honed his technical skills to develop 7 apps using low-code platforms and managing a dev team. 

Jennifer Weller

Product development/ Strategic planning for risk/ Innovation

Jennifer is a trained scientist and award-winning business innovator who combines critical and creative thinking to help people interrogate the potential of their ideas. She’s worked across a range of sectors including agriculture, tourism and hospitality, tech innovation, local and state government and universities, and has had a hand in some of the most innovative and successful products you’ll find on the supermarket shelf: from Australia’s first low alcohol beer to Uncle Tobys muesli bars and Meadow Lea margarine. 

Jennifer is a Telstra Business Women’s Awards winner, chief judge for the Albury Wodonga Business Awards and a former Chair of Regional Development Australia Murray. 

Jessica Bolch


With a background in entrepreneurship, design, adult learning, and innovation, I’ve created my perfect design studio by mixing the above together. A place where I can collaborate with business owners, big dreamers, and founders daily; where I get to engine their ideas, express their point of view, engage their audience, and help them make their mark.

Patrick Robinson

IT & Software / Strategic Planning / Product Management & Market Fit

Patrick has 15 years experience in the IT industry, with a focus on engineering in startups and scale-ups.

In that time he has helped companies grow past critical points, to adapt to growing needs.

Picking the right technology is about the people who operate it as much as the problem that needs to be solved.

Patrick spends his time mentoring those around him on how to build systems and processes that fit the constraints of business.

Cameron Sutton

Tourism & Hospitality / Local Government / Marketing / Business Development

Cameron Sutton is an accomplished regional advocate and tourism professional, with a passion for the area he calls home – Regional Victoria. Cameron gained valuable experience in senior hospitality roles across Canada and the UK and Australia, and has served as an independent, skills-based director on the Murray Regional Tourism board.

Cameron currently holds the position of Manager- Tourism & Events at Moira Shire Council, where he continues to make valuable contributions to the community.

Craig Docherty

OHS & Safety / Business & Team Management/ Leadership

Craig is an Occupational Health and Safety professional with 30 years of experience. and is a Charted Professional Member of the Safety Institute of Australia.

Craig has held a variety of Supervision and Management positions in Australia, Singapore and the USA. In 2005, Craig was requested by the Singaporean government (Ministry of Manpower) to assist with the implementation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2006.

In 2007, Craig set up Fusion Safety Management, applying this methodology to a few firms in Asia and Australia, gradually building the business reach organically. He continued to grow the business organically, employing other like-minded professionals with the goal of improving people’s lives.

Andrew Vittadello


Andrew brings expertise and experience in marketing and consumer insights to the Brains Trust as a data, insight and commercially minded marketer with over 18 years of proven business marketing experience, predominantly in various areas of the retail sector.

His background in brand development and consumer experience includes roles at Vicinity Centres, head of customer strategy and marketing at the Reject Shop (helping to bring them through the challenges of the pandemic) plus marketing management for Liquorland and Workwear. 

Karen Prebble

Analytics & data driven marketing / Business Strategy & Management / Creative & Communications Strategy

Karen Prebble is a passionate Brand and Marketing Strategist and is currently the Marketing Manager for the Australian owned ICM Agri-business: ‘Riverina Dairy’. 

Over the past 20 years Karen has worked in Australia and the UK in various marketing and innovation roles for major FMCG companies such as Nestle, Colgate, Mars, Unilever and Brown Brown Brothers.

Karen believes in the power of curiosity to tap into the inventor in us all to help solve business problems and access new growth opportunities.  

“Marketing and branding for our current times presents unique challenges and our ability to be brave and agile is easier than it has ever been. More than ever, we need to understand what opportunities exists behind the constraints to find inventive solutions to existing problems”.  

Want to be one of our trusted 'Brains'?

The Brains Trust is always growing. We love to welcome new Brains to share their skills and experience with our community of innovators.

If you’re passionate about using your expertise to support regional innovators, we’d love to hear from you!